Jerome Jacobson was living the good life.
Jerome Jacobson orchestrated a multi-million dollar master plan, and it was all based around McDonald's popular Monopoly promotion. Jacobson and his story have faded away in the minds of Americans. He was arrested in 2001 and charged with conspiracy, and Jacobson spent three years in prison paying for his sins. A recent recap of the scandal published by Daily Beast has brought the story back to life.
Jacobson worked for Simon Marketing in the late 80's, and while employed with the company he devised the great scheme. Simon Marketing was the company behind the McDonald's Monopoly game, and Jacobson was the director of security. His job was to transport the peel off tickets from their production site to packaging factories, where they would be placed on fry cartons, beverage cups, and food containers. In 1989, Jacobson pulled off his first McDonald's Monopoly heist by stealing a game piece worth $25,000 and giving it to his brother-in-law Marvin Braun. From that point forward Jacobson realized he struck gold.
Jacobson created a vest that could secretly hide the tickets, and he would switch out rare and winning tickets with common ones while in transport. He was followed by an auditor, and so Jacobson would run to the bathroom and switch out the tickets in privacy while in the airport traveling to the packaging factories. Soon, he set up a criminal network that included mobsters, psychics, drug traffickers, and strip club owners. Jacobson began selling rare pieces, such as Boardwalk (which has a 1 in 500 million chance of being found), or winning pieces that awarded the owner the $1 million grand prize.
After over a decade of selling the game pieces, someone snitched. The FBI received a random tip about the operation, and they performed several sting operations to unearth the scandal. The paper trail was enormous, and in August 2001, eight people including Jacobson were arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud. 52 people connected to the scandal were indicted in total.